Teacher’s Guide for
Worth by Alexandria LaFaye
Read the quote on the back of the book. What do you think will be the major conflict in the story? How do you think it will turn out?
Great readers keep themselves involved in the story while they’re reading by making predictions about what they think may happen next. They look for clues to help them make these guesses.
Often though the author deliberately tries to surprise the reader (which is half the fun of reading, don’t you think?) with extra details that may not turn out to be critical.
As you read Worth answer these questions AS YOU GO and don’t worry whether your answers are right or not. Also, create at least one prediction or question by the end of each chapter with one of these phrases,
I wonder whether..
I think that Nathan will probably..
I think the next obstacle may be…
Will Nathan’s leg heal completely?
I think Nathan’s leg will not heal completely because that will make the conflict stronger.
Sample Prediction: I wonder whether Nathan will be able to help his dad farm at all.
Will Nathan become good at tinkering?
Will John Worth continue to sleep in the lean-to?
Will Nathan’s reading improve?
To whom is John Worth talking to each evening?
Will Nathan ever feel less angry at God?
Will Pa be able to calm things down between the Gantrys and the Danvers?
Will Pa continue to blame himself for the accident?
Will John and Nate become friends?
Will Anemone and Nate be friends? More than friends?
Will things get better or worse for Nate?
What other kinds of books will Nate like to read?
Is reading to John, “the start of something good?”
Why is Ma so mad at Pa?
Will Ma begin to accept John too?
What will happen between John and Nate?
Will John ever be allowed to live like a family member?
Will John be good at what Nate teaches him?
After the fence cutting incident will Pa finally see the boys as equals?
Do you think Nate will always have trouble with his leg?
Will the boys be considered heroes in town?
Comprehension Guide/ Discussion Questions
- List the eight most important characters in the story
- Give a brief description of their relationship to the main character.
- What do you think are the five key events in the story?
- Predict what you think the boys lives are like a year after the close of the book.
- Write three interview questions you would ask the author about the book if you could.
- Discuss which character you think changed the most during the story. Defend your answer.
- How would this story have been different if written through the eyes of John Worth?
- How would you feel if you were Nate and your father brought home a replacement?
- What would have happened had Nate’s leg healed completely and well within a couple of weeks?
- Which scene in the book was your favorite? Why?
Projects across the Curriculum
Worth by Alexandria LaFaye
Write four letters to folks who live in other parts of the country. Write each letter through the eyes of a different character and choose different parts of the book to describe what is happening in your letter.
Write a newspaper which features articles about the major and minor events in the story- even personal ones. For example, “Peale family takes in Orphan after Son’s Tragic Accident”
Research the average price of goods during this time period. Also, find out how much land was, and the tools and seed needed to cultivate it. Make a monthly budget for an average farming family of that time. Try to figure out ways that you can “trade” rather than use precious cash money with skills you may have honed (like tinkering or trading eggs). Turn in your research and your budget with a short journal entry about what you learned.
John Worth wants to grow up to be a banker or a trader. He only needed to pass a test and receive a diploma. Research the educational and skill requirements to build a career as a banker or stock broker today.
In small groups research one of the following topics and write a pamphlet about what you learned:
Range and Farming conflicts
Pioneer life: schools, food, clothing and homes
Nathan loves to read the Greek Mythology book that Anemone let him borrow. He says, “That book had fancy pictures like the ones that came with the calendars I seen hanging up in the druggist in Chicago….” and “ “… that book had fancy swallow-you-up pretty pictures”
The type of art that Nathan is describing is probably lithography that was a popular and new technique for printing illustrations in the 1800’s. To read more about this art go to:
University of Delaware library
Examples of lithographic posters
Create a poster for the movie version of Worth inspired by the lithographic prints that you viewed. Study the figures and colors and perhaps wash it with a tea solution to age it.
Research medical practices used in the late 1800’s for common ailments. Then, write a pamphlet (directed to the doctors themselves) on how to care for their patients. Please include at least three illustrations. On the back provide reference for your research. Ailments could include: broken bones, fevers, cuts and abrasions, sore throat, or childhood diseases like chicken pox, diphtheria, or scarlet fever (caused by strep throat).
Research the treatment of people with handicaps. Nate is lucky that his parents are devoted and that he is treated by a competent physician. Many people of that time would have been lucky to walk again, or even survive.
Visit this site and then write a brief reaction journal about what you learned.
Museum of Disability History
Teacher’s guide provided by: www.TracieVaughnZimmer.com
Visit this author’s website and find more.